Just like a homeowner gets an appraisal to find how much her home is worth in the current market, a business owner uses a business valuation professional to figure out the current worth of her business. The American Institute of CPAs sponsors the Accredited in Business Valuation certification to help CPAs earn legitimacy in the field of business valuation. Not just anyone can earn the ABV certification however; candidates meet eligibility requirements and pass a certification exam.
When facing the ABV certification exam, you won’t have to go it alone. The AICPA, along with outside sources, provide a number of exam prep materials. Exam prep includes self-paced study courses that allow you to study at your own pace from the comfort of home. The AICPA offers its own self-study review course you can purchase that includes an in-depth look at business valuation, as well as 200 study questions and practice final exam. The AICPA even offers a discount to members. Self-paced study courses also come from other companies, such as Pass4Sure’s Financial ABV Exam Prep and TroyTec’s ABV Exam Prep. Both of these programs include 344 sample questions and a practice exam that helps you practice timing for the real thing.
If studying from home is too distracting, the AICPA also offers an in-person review course once a year. The intensive two-day course takes place at a different location each year and includes a comprehensive look at the business valuation industry. You’ll also receive test-taking tips, more than 350 practice questions and case studies that will help prepare you for the exam. The AICPA also offers a five-day business valuation school for those just starting in the business valuation world and wanting to take the exam.
In addition to in-person and self-study courses, you can take advantage of the AICPA’s extensive exam outline available on its website. The outline gives in-depth information on all the exam topics, and includes referenced readings for each topic and a list of suggested reading material. If you want to see how you stack up before taking the test, the AICPA’s ABV Assessment Tool allows you to test your knowledge in 11 modules, giving you an overall score and providing suggestions on topic areas where you need more work. You also can use the four-month study plan the AICPA has developed to help you stay on track as you prepare for the ABV exam. The exam study plan includes an exam tutorial where you can take part in a mock exam session.
Considerations for Taking the Test
The ABV exam consists of 180 multiple-choice questions, including 25 questions about case studies; test-takers have six hours to complete the entire test. When taking the test, you’ll have computer access to the International Glossary of Business Valuation Terms and Formulas and Variable Definitions to help you answer the questions. To aid in the math-related questions, you’ll also be able to bring an approved calculator. Approved calculators include the Hewlett Packard 12C, 10B, 10b II or 17bII+ or a Texas Instruments TI BAII Plus.
Lindsey Thompson began her writing career in 2001. Her work has been published in the Cincinnati Art Museum's "Member Magazine" and "The Ohio Journalist." You'll also find her work on websites like Airbnb, Chron.com, and USAToday.com. Thompson holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.